One of my controversies in psychiatry is also a controversy in animal rights. I am advocating a vegan diet to treat mental illness, cancer, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, PKU, kidney disease, liver disease, and possibley other diseases. This is a high fiber diet, probably similar to that used by the cavemen. We evolved to survive on this diet, or a similar one. Does this mean that the diet cures everything? The answer is "No." It does not cure protein malnutrition, which can be a problem in the Sudan and other parts of Africa. However, protein malnutrition is very rare in the US.
Does mean that we should reject surgery for cancer? Again the answer is "No." However, a diet high in fruits and vegetables has been reported to reduce the risk for cancer. You can use both nutrition and surgery.
Does this mean that we should reject all drugs? Again the answer is "No." Both drugs and diet can be used for various diseases including diabetes.
The animal rights people favor the ethical treatment of animals, including in medical research. They say that we should not eat animals. The have questioned experiments on primates, which are man's closest relatives. I am approaching things from a different direction. I favor the ethical treatment of animals, but I have a theory for mental illness that amino acids are flooding the brain cells (neurons & glia). Animals are made of protein, and amino acids come from this protein. Animals also have bad fats including saturated fats and cholesterol. However, fat is not the main problem in mental illness. Fat is a problem in diabetes, hypertension, hypercholesterolemia, heart disease, etc. Fat is a problem in obesity and in cancer. Dietary fat is a rsk factor for cancer.
Fruits, Grains, and Vegetables
Fruits, grains, and vegetables all have fiber and have no cholesterol. These are the things that you should eat. Animals have a lot of salt. Fruits are low in fat and have good potassium. They are low in salt. Fruitarians only eat fruit. Their view is that cooking destroys some of the vitamins. This is true, but I feel that the fruitarian diet is too limited. Certain oils are essential, and the avocado is about the only fruit that has much fat. Nuts have beneficial fats.
The Linus Pauling Controversy
Pauling was controversial his entire life, and he was almost always right. He was definitely right about nuclear pollution. In 1954 he started to take an interest in mental illness. He was already famous at the time. He had done brilliant work on the chemical bond.
He was influenced by the work of Folling of Norway, who discovered PKU, a form of mental retardation. He also studied the work of Hoffer & Osmond of Canada on schizophrenia. In 1968 he published his own views, which he called "orthomolecular psychiatry".
"Orthomolecular psychiatry is the achievement and preservation of good mental health by the provision of the optimum molecular environment for the mind, especially the optimum concentrations of substances normally present in the human body, such as the vitamins."
Linus Pauling 1974 (American Journal of Psychiatry)
The brain is the seat of the problem. The brain has been studied for centuries, with varying degrees of success.
My own theory, based upon neuropathology data and histopathology data, is that amino acids are flooding the brain cells in mental illness. This is true of both neurons and glia. If my theory is correct, and I believe that it is, a diet low in amino acids is indicated. It seems that there is a transport error, caused by a toxic factor, that results in the brain burning amino acids for fuel instead of glucose, the normal brain fuel. The diet low in amino acids is a vegan diet.
My theory and my treatment is consistent with orthomolecular psychiatry. However, it does not involve megavitamins. The megavitamin treatments have been severely criticized by conservatives, but they have had beneficial side effects. A lot of niacin lowers your cholesterol. A lot of vitamin C is thought to strengthen the immune system. However, mental disease is an amino acid problem. There is a profound error in amino acid metabolism.
1.Pauling, L.: Orthomolecular psychiatry. Science 160: 265-271, 1968.
2. VanderKamp, H: A biochemical abnormality in schizophrenia involving ascorbic acid. Int J Neuropsychiatry 2:204206, 1966.
3. Herjanic, M., Moss-Herjanic, B.L. Ascorbic acid test in psychiatric patients. J Schizophrenia 1: 257-260, 1967.
4. Pauling, L., Robinson, A.B., Oxley S.S., et al: Results of a loading test of ascorbic acid, niacinamide, and pyridoxine in schizophrenic subjects and controls, in Orthomolecular Psychiatry: Treatment of Schizophrenia. Edited by Hawkins, D., Pauling, L. San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Co., 1973, pp 18-34.
5. Hawkins, D., Pauling, L (eds): Orthomolecular Psychiatry; Treatment of Schizophrenia. San Francisco, W.H. Freeman and Co., 1973.